According to American Junior Golf Association tournament director Brittany Winterton, the feat of a local golfer beating the ones on tour in an AJGA tournament may have been accomplished once all year.
Can it happen in this week’s AJGA Henry-Griffitts Rome Junior Classic at Coosa Country Club?
Six local golfers certainly hope so.
David Hoyt, Richard Baldwin, Tripp Powell, Perry Barnes and Jenny Morris will represent the Rome Junior Golf Association and Patrick McShane successfully qualified on Sunday at Adairsville’s Barnsley Inn & Golf Resort for this week’s tournament.
Those from the RJGA posted the highest point totals during the association’s summer tournament series.
During the RJGA’s summer program, Jo Stegall said 150 golfers participated in the program made of both tournaments and seasonal clinics.
“We had as many as 80 to over 100 kids at the tournaments,” said Stegall, who not only is active in the RJGA but also serves as tournament chairman for the Rome Junior Classic.
When it comes to fundraising for the RJGA, Stegall and Frank Brown have been instrumental.
“We’ve probably raised $38,000 this year,” said Stegall. “We are getting more and more kids each year involved with golf.”
Hoyt, who is a rising sophomore at Darlington School, is riding a lot of momentum into the tournament.
He finished third in June’s Georgia State Golf Association Junior Championship, which was also held at Coosa, and earned the honor of being selected to compete in the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge match last month.
And in the highly-regarded Coosa Invitational, a tournament played mostly by adults, Hoyt finished second in his flight.
Morris, a Cedartown golfer, not only led Darlington to its first-ever girls state team golf championship but also placed third in the Class AA tournament held earlier this year at Jeckyll Island.
In all, 84 golfers make up the field and represent 16 states according to the AJGA. Thirty of the golfers are from Georgia.
Another Georgia golfer to watch in particular is Ringgold’s Luke List. List, who tied for 43rd in last year’s Rome Junior Classic, has two top-five finishes on this year’s AJGA Tour.
And of course, everybody will be watching the fairways as golfers make their treks across the traditionally-rich golf course.
“We love this kind of golf course,” said Winterton. “It’s a southern-style course with trees everywhere. The roughs will really challenge the kids.”
Alex Wilson of Coral Gables, Fla., also is a boys threat. In the girls division, Polo Golf Junior All-Americans Aree and Naree Song Wongluekiet of Bradenton, Fla., and Tampa, Fla.’s Mallory Code, who was fourth in last year’s Rome Junior Classic, will compete.
Tee times today range from 7:30 a.m. to 12:27 p.m